Holiday Perks on a Tight Budget

November 28, 2017


The holiday season is traditionally the time when many companies recognize the efforts of employees over the past 12 months. Large organizations often reward employees with bonuses or lavish parties. However, smaller companies that lack the same resources still want to recognize the endeavors and loyalty of their staff.

The downside of ignoring hard work is significant. It can create a negative environment that may affect employee morale. Top performers may start to look for job opportunities elsewhere. The most successful companies thrive because they realize that employees are their most critical asset. They understand how important it is to recognize the role they play.

Employee recognition does not mean companies have to pull out all the stops or spend over and above what their budget allows. Many employees who work at small companies do not expect lavish bonuses, extravagant holiday parties or expensive gifts. Non-monetary recognition is often just as valuable and appreciated by employees. There are many ways companies can reward their staff on a smaller scale. Below are a few suggestions:

Public recognition

There is nothing more motivating or inspiring than when an executive applauds the work of an employee in front of the entire company. It shows workers that their efforts do not go unnoticed. Recognizing teamwork is always great, but giving individual acknowledgement is important. It allows people who work behind the scenes to get special kudos.

Many companies do this through a monthly employee awards program. Special perks, such as designated parking, an award plaque, extra time off, or lunch with an executive can make this even more enticing to employees.

Announcing winners during a company meeting and highlighting the employees in the organization’s print or email newsletter is another great way to honor them. You may also consider allowing monthly recipients to be eligible for quarterly and yearly awards. These actions will further demonstrate the company’s commitment to recognizing top performers.

Extra time for all employees

November and December can be a busy time, when there are not enough hours in the day to complete holiday to-do lists. This is why giving employees an extra day off, or even longer lunch hours on certain days is often a much-appreciated bonus. Having more time to run errands or attend holiday functions can be helpful to employees. Companies may even find that giving an occasional afternoon off throughout the year is a great way to let employees rejuvenate.

Provide chances to socialize and relax

While more costly, an annual holiday party remains a popular way to show appreciation. Planning these events many months in advance can often help businesses secure better pricing from venues. Consider taking staff to a local restaurant, or catering breakfast or lunch onsite for them. If an off-site party is too costly, a smaller onsite get together is also a possibility. A personal invitation or thank you note from an executive adds a special touch.

A chance to help the community

One increasingly popular perk is to provide employees with paid time off to volunteer for a local charity of their choosing. Some companies also form partnerships with local organizations that assist those in need. This gives employees a chance to volunteer at an event during the holiday months.

Be flexible

As mentioned before, employees often feel that there are not enough hours in the day during the holiday months. That's why offering more flexible hours is another popular perk. Employees who want to attend their children's school performances often appreciate this. Allowing workers a chance to leave early so they can take part in these family functions is a perk that they will remember for a long time.

Give gifts all employees will appreciate

Presenting employees with gift cards is another great way to show appreciation. This can allow them to buy something they may not other buy for themselves. One thoughtful choice is a gift card from a local grocery chain. Many employees appreciate it when the company helps share their holiday meal expense.

Offer casual comfort

In many industries, the chance to dress less formally on occasion is a popular benefit. Therefore, one possible holiday perk is to allow casual dress on certain days. Companies can also promote pride in their organizations by giving employees corporate apparel and announcing days when they can wear it to work.

Companies interested in attracting and retaining talented staff should take time to recognize employees for their efforts and dedication. Recognition does not require a business to go into debt. However, the morale lift and stability these actions can bring to the office benefit organizations year round.

About Insperity
Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 31 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace.

Topics: Human Resources

Kay Oder


Kay Oder has owned six companies, has been a resource to thousands to businesses and brought solutions to help business owners minimize risk, improve business performance and navigate today’s highly regulated and complex “business of being an employer”.

Today, Kay uses the insights gained throughout her career as a speaker, business owner and business advisor. Audiences enjoy her candid, informed perspective on HR related topics as well as her razor-sharp southern wit.

Kay is also a Certified Business Performance Advisor with Insperity, the $2.6 billion business performance solutions provider she has called home since 1993. Kay has consistently been among the company’s top producers during her 20 plus years with the organization, earning Insperity’s highest honors, including the Top Volume, Circle of Excellence and the Chairman’s Club awards.

Prior to Insperity, Kay was the President and Co-founder of Texas Valve Specialists, a supplier in the oil and gas industry. She has also owned companies in the construction, demolition, machining and promotional apparel arenas. She spent four years as a client of Insperity and upon selling her last venture, joined the Insperity team.

From an early age Kay demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, beginning at age six when she sold cantaloupes from her parents’ front yard, which she offered three for fifty-cents, with a free puppy.

Kay and her husband, Dale, relocated to Austin from the Houston area in 1996 when a theft occurred in their family: their granddaughter was born and stole their hearts, so they had to follow.

Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 30 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization® solution. Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services. Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees. With 2016 revenues of $2.9 billion, Insperity operates in 61 offices throughout the United States. For more information, call 800-465-3800 or visit

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